Here Comes the Sun – part 2

A guest post by Caroline Whitehead

Read Caroline’s first blog post about the parasol collection at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums here.

Caring for your parasol

Parasols were fragile – the silk split quite easily due to the fact that the cover was under tension when put up. The vulnerable tip or ‘ferrule’, frequently made from ivory or bone, was easily snapped off.  So, not surprisingly, department stores offered a re-covering service for umbrellas and parasols. Women’s magazines recommended putting aside 7 shillings out of a dress allowance of £10 a year for an umbrella or having it re-covered. [3]

Parasols were kept closed with a variety of closures from metal or ivory rings, cords, tassels and eventually the kind of band and button or press-stud that we see on umbrellas today.

The tassel or cord was wound round the parasol and slotted into a metal catch. TWCMS:J154

The tassel or cord was wound round the parasol and slotted into a metal catch. TWCMS:J154

Fancy goods

The collection has some lovely extravagant parasols trimmed with lace and chiffon, with fancy handles from carved ivory, knotted and bent bamboo, and printed and painted porcelain knobs. Decoration knows no bounds in some cases where parasols are festooned with lace, ribbons, fringing, tassels and pompoms.

Lace covered parasol from Jurbert, probably French,1850s.  TWCMS: J151

Lace covered parasol from Jurbert, probably French,1850s. TWCMS: J151

Warp-printed silk cover, trimmed inside with silk. With a transfer-printed and gilded porcelain handle. 1890s. TWCMS: J1380

Warp-printed silk cover, trimmed inside with silk. With a transfer-printed and gilded porcelain handle. 1890s. TWCMS: J1380

Parasols were a must-have accessory until the late 1920s when suntans started to become fashionable.  By the 1930s they had all but died out – and were flirted with briefly (as surely befits all parasols!) in the post-war years.

This parasol is the latest in the Collection, dating 1910-1925. It is labelled ‘British Make’.  TWCMS: J1387

This parasol is the latest in the Collection, dating 1910-1925. It is labelled ‘British Make’. TWCMS: J1387

Parasol manufacturers

We don’t know whether any of the parasols were made or bought locally, as we haven’t found any such maker’s marks or labels. But we do know that umbrellas and parasols were at least sold here.

One of the main manufacturers of umbrellas and parasols was S. Fox & Co. Ltd. of Stocksbridge, nearSheffield. The Collection has 8 Fox’s parasols.  The firm is still going after 166 years. This is my favourite Fox parasol – with its bold print of peacocks and flowers, probably dating from the 1910s.

TWCMS: J1366.

TWCMS: J1366.

Typical S. Fox & Co Ltd. trademark labels.

Typical S. Fox & Co Ltd. trademark labels.

Mystery makers – Can you Help?

We have some parasols with maker’s labels and marks – but they are a mystery to us.  Can you help identify them?

Gauntlet – British Make – Too Good to Lose

Found on a parasol dating 1900s-1910s.  Also has a label saying ‘Too Good to Lose’.  TWCMS: 2008.3498

Found on a parasol dating 1900s-1910s. Also has a label saying ‘Too Good to Lose’. TWCMS: 2008.3498

Jurbert

Found on a parasol dating from the 1850s, probably French.  TWCMS: J151

Found on a parasol dating from the 1850s, probably French. TWCMS: J151

Perfection

‘Perfection’ trademark or maker’s label, found on two parasols dating from the 1850s-1860s, and the 1890s.  TWCMS: J184

‘Perfection’ trademark or maker’s label, found on two parasols dating from the 1850s-1860s, and the 1890s. TWCMS: J184

C.H.H. London

Found on a parasol dating 1862-1870.

E & C London

Found on a parasol possibly dating around 1905.  TWCMS: J196.

Found on a parasol possibly dating around 1905. TWCMS: J196.

The Collection has about 20 umbrellas, but perhaps their story will have to wait for a rainy day!

References

3.   Jeremy Farrell, The Costume Accessories Series: Umbrellas and Parasols, Batsford, 1985, p. 17

2 Responses to Here Comes the Sun – part 2

  1. Jaci Richards says:

    Hi there, just noticed the makers name “Gauntlet Regd. London made” ” Too good to lose” on a parasol I have purchased from a charity shop in Wincanton Somerset. It has a button fastening, a plaited wrist band, and a lovely moulded plastic crook. It is plain ivory fabric/nylon? And has a nice light wood piece on the shaft where you hold it. The makers name is on a little stitched tab and also stamped on one of the spokes. Can you tell me how old it might be and when parasols were fashionable as I am not sure if it is a brolly”?
    Hope you can help. Regards Jaci Richards

  2. Emma Pybus says:

    Hi Jaci
    Thanks for getting in touch. If you email your enquiry to research@twmuseums.org.uk then our research team will take a look and get back to you
    thanks
    Emma.

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